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Nancy Harper Carsten


1930 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Nancy Harper Carsten Obituary
April 29, 1930 - April 21, 2016 Nancy Harper Carsten "eased on down the road" peacefully Thursday morning, April 21, 2016 surrounded by her loved ones at home in Malibu, CA. She was born April 29,1930 and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Dora and Frank Harper. She was the youngest of four children, Troman, Graham and Robert Harper, her dear brothers. She moved to Bel Air, CA where she met her husband, Paul Carsten, who swept her away, dancing and joking. They were married thirty-two years and had five children, Cathy Salenger, Philip Carsten, Nancy HIrsch, Freddie Carsten, and Heather Brand. Nancy had eight grandchildren and three great granddaughters. She and Paul raised their family in Malibu, starting in 1954, enjoying the freedom, beauty and wildness. Even evacuating the many fires was just part of the adventure in their lives. She was a 4H leader and loved a house and yard full of children and animals, including show chickens, show rabbits, a horse on occasion, and always cats and dogs. She later became a Persian cat breeder, naming her cattery, the Shire. Nancy Carsten was a dynamic woman. She straddled many eras. Raised on Victorian values, she chose her own path, knowing what was best for her and her family. She had suffered loss in her life, losing her son, Freddie, to cancer at nine months, and her husband Paul in an accident in 1978. But she was not to be defeated. She was strong and brave and always looking forward, accepting with an open heart and eager curiosity whatever lay ahead. A precocious child, Nancy started reading very early, having been taught by her father, who would sit her on his lap and read the paper to her starting at the age of two. She continued to the end, keeping her finger on the pulse of the world, reading the NY Times daily, cover to cover, then cutting out articles for her children and grandchildren to read, mailing them regularly. You always knew that when a fat envelope from Mom came that there was good reading to be had. Her passion always lay in teaching. She taught for forty years, loving the interaction with students. Often she sang and danced with students or for them in ancient history class or while teaching poetry or one of the many other classes she taught. She loved reconnecting with her "old" students on social media these past years. She loved posting Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Mother Goose, and sharing facts from the Farmer's Almanac. Nancy was an avid gardener, determined to make her Malibu gardens a proper English garden. Even in her last weeks, she was planning this year's harvest and how to conquer terrible clay soil. Nancy, Mom, Grammie, Grandmama, Mrs. C. whatever the name, will be sorely missed. Lives were made better by her guidance, her faith that everything would work out, and her love. Our hearts are fuller, our eyes are clearer, our minds sharper, and our laughter is richer for having known and loved her. She lived by these words: "Never let the bastards get you down." And from Auntie Mame, "Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" "Toodleoo!" As she said laughingly in her goodbyes, " I'll send you a postcard." There will be no services. My mom would want you to just do what you love, read good books, and trust that things work out.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 27 to May 1, 2016
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